On Dec. 1, Macomb County Community Services Agency (MCCSA) recognized customers, volunteers, employees and a partner organization for their unique contributions to diminish poverty and promote independence in Macomb County.
The awards reception at University Center on the campus of Macomb Community College honored several recipients who demonstrate the good things that are happening in Macomb County.
And the awards went to …
Special Award to Kurt Strevel
Jan. 29, 2015 was a cold and snowy day. Kurt Strevel, a Meals on Wheels volunteer from Roseville, was delivering his usual route when his truck overheated and stopped running. Strevel had only delivered half of his meals. It would have been easy to find a warm restaurant and wait for a tow. No one would have blamed him.
Instead, Strevel walked four and a half miles to deliver the last five meals on foot, even calling each customer to say he would be late.
He also called the main office to apologize for not returning the insulated food bags.
“When he came up to the house,” said one customer, “I sat down and cried. He brings comfort and makes you feel so happy.”
Strevel has volunteered for Meals on Wheels since 2011, logging in approximately 250 hours. He frequently accepts substitutes for absent drivers.
Customer Recognition to Jean Hitchcock and Mary Kujawa
Jean Hitchcock of Clinton Township was nominated for the Customer Recognition Award by Nicole Urban of Macomb Community Action for her participation in the program called Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults. It was there that she learned how to read labels and dietary guidelines.
Since completing the program, Hitchcock has seen a significant improvement to her own health by putting into practice the skills she’s learned.
Hitchcock now plans ahead when eating out and follows a healthy diet, even when others in her household do not.
Mary Kujawa of Warren also received the Customer Recognition Award. She was nominated by Macomb Community Action employees Brittany Mohr and Cathy Carley.
Kujawa received help from the South Action Center in Warren for utility assistance. The South Action Center used many resources to assist her, which resulted in her being able to remain in her home and remain self-sufficient at the age of 86.
Teresa Parker was nominated for the Employee Recognition Award by Cathy Carley of Macomb Community Services.
“Teresa makes a difference in the lives of clients at the South Action Center,” said Carley. “Her longevity, positive presence and professional example make her a sought-after resource by clients of the South Action Center.”
Parker has been a Macomb County employee for over 20 years and has worked at the South Action Center in Warren for the last 10 years. During tax season, most clients ask for Parker, a testament to her 10 years of solid relationship building at South Action Center.
“She has a unique way of bringing every resource available to their attention while encouraging action, which will ultimately lead to self-sufficiency, a goal of our agency,” said Carley.
She is an excellent listener and goes above and beyond in finding other resources on behalf of clients.
Teresa Parker is synonymous with the South Action Center.
Volunteer Recognition (Velma Polk and Chanda Parman)
Macomb Community Action employees Kristin Deceuninck and Nancy Brisky nominated Velma Polk of Clinton Township for the Volunteer Recognition Award.
Polk volunteered to assist with the Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment and Attendance (ERSEA) process for Head Start.
“Her warm smile was a special asset on application days when she greeted families with children,” said Deceuninck.
Polk instituted a new process that streamlined the intake of clients, co-managed the callback list for clients scheduling and assisted with the assembly of enrollment files, which allowed the ERSEA specialist to focus on getting over 1,000 children placed in our Early Head Start and Head Start classrooms.
When the school year started, Polk continued to volunteer by helping the teachers prepare their classrooms.
With the amount of work that Polk donated with her volunteer efforts, one needs to be reminded that this amazing woman is a volunteer.
Chanda Parman’s volunteer activities are wide and deep. She has volunteered with Meals on Wheels since 2008 and is a volunteer master trainer and coach for the evidence-based program Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults.
Without Parman’s efforts with the Healthy Eating program, it would not be the program it is today.
Parman has led four different class sessions (two-and-a-half-hour classes for six weeks) and has trained new Healthy Eating coaches which enable the agency to continue offering the class.
“Chanda makes her classes fun and engaging,” said nominator Elise Cretcher. “She continually shows a willingness to lead new classes anywhere in the county.”
Organization Recognition, Mount Clemens Salvation Army
The Salvation Army in Mount Clemens has been a fixture in the community for many years. Salvation Army partners with the Central Action Center to leverage dollars to assist families in crisis and when a client does not meet MCCSA’s eligibility criteria or vice versa.
Both organizations have goals that overlap – diminishing poverty and promoting independence. Two of the Salvation Army’s programs particularly deserve to be highlighted:
- Salvation Army’s Pathways to Independence Program, which provides clients with case managers who specifically address barriers to a family’s independence.
- The Salvation Army assists folks with emergency needs such as utility shutoffs, eviction assistance and shelter.
The Salvation Army bridges the gap where MCCSA cannot, and vice versa.
Kevin Sadaj is public relations manager for MCCSA.